The National Security Guard (NSG) Act of 1986 provisions for the upkeep and constitution of the armed forces of the Union to combat terrorist activities. The armed forces covered by this act play a crucial role in maintaining peace during internal disputes and other security-related matters. The Act was enacted on September 22, 1986, and enforced on October 16 by The Ministry of Home Affairs. The NSG Act aims to vest the NSG with the necessary authority to effectively respond to various security threats, especially those related to terrorism.
Table of Contents
Emergence of NSG Act, 1986
The NSG commandos are commonly known as Black Cats and are the counter-terrorism units of India controlled by the Ministry of Home Affairs. The NSG was constituted on October 16, 1984, in the aftermath of Operation Blue Star and aspired to combat various terrorist activities and shield states against internal aggression. Personnel of the NSG group have maintained peace in states such as Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. The NSG is one of the seven Central Armed Forces of India.
Objective of Passing the Act
The objective of passing the Act has been enshrined in the Preamble of the Act, which articulates that the Act provides for the regulation and constitution of the armed forces of the Union and combat terrorist activities. The Act aims to protect states against internal disturbance within the Union. The Parliament enacted the Act in the 37th year of the Republic of India.
The following are the objectives of the Act:
- To create NSG to maintain the Nation’s internal peace and security.
- The Act provides for the structure and composition of such NSG.
- The Act establishes Special Protection Groups under the Supervision of the Act responsible for the Protection of the Prime Minister of India.
- The Act shields NSG members in case they commit any offence during execution of their official duties.
- The Act aims to maintain transparency in the legal proceedings conducted under this Act by the National Security Courts.
- The Act also mandates the officers of the NSG to report to the Central Government about their functioning and activities.
- The Act aims to train the NSG personnel in combating terrorist attacks and makes them ready for a war-like situation.
Provisions of the Act
Section 1- Short title, extent, and commencement
According to Section 1 of the Act, the National Security Guard Act, 1986 came into force on the date fixed by the Central Government after being notified in the official gazette.
Section 3- Persons subject to the Act
According to Section 3, the following persons are subject to the provisions of this Act:
- Assistant Commander and Officers.
- Combative Tradesman and Rangers.
These people shall continue to be subjected to the provisions of the Act until they retire, repatriate, or are released, removed, discharged or dismissed. As per the Act, the National Security Guard Adjustment of Jurisdiction Rule, 1987 and National Security Guard Rules, 1987 are framed.
Section 4- Constitution of security guard
As per Section 4, one Armed Force of the Union shall be known as National Security Guard to combat terrorist activities and protect the states against internal disputes. The constitution, and conditions of service of members of the NSG shall be as per the rules of this Act.
Section 5- Control and supervision
As per this section, the general monitoring, control, and direction of the NSG shall be vested in the Central Government and subject to the provisions of the Act. The command and supervision are to be exercised by an officer the Central Government appoints as the Director General of the Security Guard.
The Additional Director General, Inspector General, Deputy Inspectors General, and other officers such as Group Commanders appointed by the Central Government assist the Director General in performing his duties smoothly.
Section 6- Liability for service outside India
All the members of the Security Guard India are under the liability to serve inside India as well as outside India.
Section 7- Resignation and withdrawal from the post
Any member of the Security Guard may
- Resign from his/her post during the term of his engagement
- Withdraw himself/herself from the performance of his/her duties of appointment.
Resignation and withdrawal requires approval from the prescribed authority in writing.
Section 8- Tenure of Service of Officers
The officers appointed under the Act will hold the office until the tenure of the President expires.
Section 9- Termination of service by Central Government
Under this section, the Central Government will have the power to terminate any person from his/her service under this Act.
Section 10- Power of Director General and other officers to remove members
Under this section, the Director General, Additional Director General, Inspector General, and Deputy Inspector General shall have the power to dismiss or remove any member appointed under this Act from service or may reduce that officer’s rank to a lower grade or rank.
Any officer above the Deputy Inspector General rank may remove or dismiss any person from the service. However, they cannot remove superior officers or Assistant Commander. He/she may also reduce the rank or grade of members other than the Officer or Assistant Commander.
Section 11- Certificate of Termination
An Assistant Commander or Ranger or a Combatised tradesman who retires or is discharged, removed, or dismissed from the service shall be eligible to get a certification stating the authority who is terminating his service, the reason for such termination, and the complete period of his service as the Indian Security Guard.
Section 13- Remedy of aggrieved persons other than officers
Any person who is aggrieved by the Act of any superior officer or other officer may file his/her complaint to his officer. Any officer who receives a complaint under this Act shall thoroughly investigate the matter to provide full redressal to the complainant, or it may also direct the complaint to any superior officer if required. The Director General has the authority to modify any officer’s decision, and the Director General’s determination shall be final in this matter.
According to Section 14, if any officer deems himself aggrieved by the Commander or any other superior officer, he/she may file such a complaint to the Director General or the Central Government through the proper channel.
Criminal Offences and their respective punishment under this Act
The Security Guard Court shall hold all the convictions under this Act for any offence.
If any person
|15||May suffer death or other lesser punishment as prescribed.|
Whoever does any of the following acts:
|Begins, causes, incites, conspires, joins, or is present at mutiny, or continues to be a part of such mutiny even after knowing the action is mutiny||17||Death or less imprisonment|
|If any person deserts or attempt to desert service||18||Imprisonment up to 2 years or any less punishment|
|If any person remains on leave without any sufficient cause or without permission from any superior officer||19||Imprisonment up to 3 years or any less punishment|
|If any person uses criminal force to assault a superior officer or uses threatening or insubordinate words while addressing the officer.||20||Imprisonment up to 14 years or less punishment|
|Disobedience to the command of the superior officer while executing his official duties.||21||Imprisonment up to 14 years or less punishment|
|If any person commits any quarrel, affray, or refuses to obey any officer, uses criminal force, breaks out to barracks and quarters, or refuses to follow any local or general order.||22||Imprisonment up to 10 years or less punishment|
|If any person is guilty of any disgraceful conduct, they voluntarily cause hurt to themself to delay their recovery.||23||Imprisonment up to 7 years or less punishment|
|When any officer, Ranger Grade 1, or Assistant commander uses criminal force or ill-treats his subordinate in rank or position.||24||Imprisonment up to 7 years or less punishment|
|Any person who remains in a state of drunkenness regardless of duty or otherwise.||25||Imprisonment up to 6 months or less punishment|
|If any person releases any person who is charged for committing an offence and refuses to receive any prisoner.||26||Imprisonment up to 2 years or less punishment|
|Unnecessary detention of any person in arrest or confinement without bringing to trial or investigation.||27||Imprisonment up to 1 year or less punishment|
|If any person is in the custody of the police, but he escapes or attempts to escape.||28||Imprisonment up to 3 years or any less punishment|
|If any person commits theft of Government property, dishonestly misappropriates, commits criminal breach of trust, dishonestly receives or keeps any property, destroys or harms any government property, or does any act to defraud.||29||Imprisonment up to 10 years or less punishment|
|If any person commits extortion, exacts from any person’s money without proper authority.||30||Imprisonment up to 10 years or less punishment|
|Any person who makes away with any equipment, instrument, ammunition, or tools, loses something by neglecting it, sells or destroys any medal.||31|
Imprisonment up to 10 years or less punishment (in case of making away with equipment, instruments, ammunition, etc)
Imprisonment up to 5 years or less punishment in other cases
|If any person destroys or causes injury to any property of any Security guard mess, or to any government property, kills, or ill-treats any animals entrusted to him.||32|
If done wilfully, imprisonment up to 5 years or less punishment
If acted without any reasonable cause, imprisonment up to a term of 10 years, or less punishment
|If a person makes any false accusation or makes any fallacious complaint against any person, thereby affecting the character of such person.||33||Imprisonment up to 3 years or any less punishment|
|If any person makes any fraudulent statement in any document, certificate, or book, makes any omission in it, knowingly defaces, alters or suppresses any document, makes any false declaration, or obtains any pension or any other benefit by making a wrong statement.||34||Imprisonment up to 10 years or less punishment|
|If any person makes any false declaration or statement relating to their appointment.||35||Imprisonment up to 3 years or any less punishment|
|If any person disobeys any summon for attendance, refuses to take oath or affirmation, refuses to deliver any documents which are in his possession, refuses to answer any question which he is legally bound by law to answer, or if the person is guilty of Security Guard Court and uses any threatening language.||36||Imprisonment up to 3 years or any less punishment|
|If any person is sworn before any Security Guard Court and makes any false statement on oath or which he knows to be false.||37||Imprisonment up to 7 years or any less punishment|
|Any officer, Ranger Grade I, Assistant Commander, receives any pay from any person by unlawful detention and refuses to repay the same.||38||Imprisonment up to 5 years or any less punishment|
|Any officer or Assistant Commander behaves in a manner not fit for his position and the character.||39||Such an officer is liable to be dismissed or any less punishment|
|If any person is guilty of any offence that is prejudiced to good order and discipline of the Security Guard||40||Imprisonment up to 7 years or any less punishment|
Miscellaneous offences like:
|41||Imprisonment up to 7 years or any less punishment|
|Abetment of any such offence||43||Same punishment as that of the offence.|
Civil Offences Under This Act
Suppose any person in India commits any civil offence and is charged under therewith. In such a case, such a person is liable to be tried and punished by the Security Guard Court in the following manner:
- If the offence is punishable by death under any law, then the same punishment prescribed under the law will be imposed.
- In other cases, he/she will be punished with imprisonment for a maximum term of 7 years or some reduced sentence.
Civil Offences Not Triable by a Security Guard Court – Section 46
A person shall not be deemed to have committed an offence under this Act against any person who is not bound by this Act and is also not liable to be tried by the Security Guard Council. However, if the person commits the offences under the following circumstances, then he/she shall be held liable:
- During the course of his duty, and
- At any place outside the territory of India.
Punishments That May be Awarded Under this Act (Section 47)
The following punishments may be imposed on any person accused of any offence under this Act:
- Life imprisonment for a specified term, but not more than 3 months in Security Guard Custody
- Dismissal from service
- Demotion in rank
- Forfeiture of rank and reducing the term of service without any pension
- Severe reprimand
- Deduction of pay and other allowances
Arrest and proceedings before trial
According to Section 58, if any person is accused of any offence under this Act and such person comes under the jurisdiction and local limits of a Magistrate or Police Officer, then such Magistrate or Police Officer shall assist in arresting the accused and delivering him to the Security Guard Custody on submitting an application under writing by the Commander or any other officer.
As per Section 69, the General Security Guard Court can conduct the trial of any person convicted of an offence under this Act. A Petty Security Guard Court, as provided under Section 70, will deal with the trial of offences other than those whose prescribed punishment is death or imprisonment for a term exceeding 2 years.
According to Section 74, no person shall be tried under this Act if such person is subjected to the provisions of this Act.
Security Guard Courts
Types of Security Guard Courts – (Section 61)
The following are the various kinds of Security Guard Courts:
- General Security Guard Courts
- Petty Security Guard Courts
- Summary Security Guard Courts
Powers of Security Guard Courts
The Security Guard Courts has the same powers as that of the Civil Courts, including the following:
- Requiring the attendance of witnesses,
- Requiring any document in the possession of the accused,
- Issue commissions for examination of witnesses in case the witness is unable to attend the court to give evidence,
- Examine witnesses on oath or by issuing commissions.
The National Security Guard (NSG) Act of 1986 assumes a pivotal role within India’s national security architecture, serving as the cornerstone of a legal infrastructure that sustains a highly specialised force adept at promptly and efficiently addressing a spectrum of security challenges that may arise within the country.
The challenges pertinently encompass scenarios intertwined with terrorism and other precarious circumstances of grave nature. The NSG’s profound competencies and exceptional proficiencies collectively render it an indispensable resource, instrumental in safeguarding the nation’s paramount security concerns.
FAQs on the National Security Guards Act, 1986
What is The National Security Guards Act 1986 about?
The Act is a legislative framework established by the Indian government to create the National Security Guard (NSG), a specialised paramilitary force focused on counter-terrorism and crisis management.
How does the NSG Act empower the National Security Guard?
The NSG Act empowers the NSG to undertake various tasks, including counter-terrorism operations, assisting state and central agencies during terrorist incidents, and conducting specialised operations to neutralise threats.
How does the NSG Act address legal concerns for NSG officers?
The NSG Act provides legal protection to the NSG officers who act in good faith while performing their duties. This immunity shields them from legal repercussions from actions taken in the line of duty to protect national security.
What role does the NSG Act play in coordination with other agencies?
The Act emphasises collaboration and coordination with other law enforcement agencies, intelligence organisations, and security entities in India. This cooperative approach ensures a unified response to security challenges.
How does the NSG Act contribute to transparency and accountability?
The NSG Act requires the National Security Group to provide regular updates and reports on its operations and deployments to the central government. This mechanism ensures transparency and accountability for the force’s actions and decisions.